Combination bronchodilator therapy for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) potentially can provide increased benefit over single-agent therapy. The objective of this double-blind, randomized, positive-control trial was to determine the effectiveness of an albuterol-ipratropium solution aerosol combination (Dey combination solution, Dey LP, Napa, Calif., USA) compared with solution aerosols of both component medications administered alone in patients with COPD. The trial consisted of a 6-week, 3-period crossover phase followed by a 6-week parallel phase during which patients self-administered study medications by inhalation from a nebulizer. A total of 863 patients were initially randomized to each of the six possible treatment sequences of the three study medications in the crossover phase and received each study medication in turn for a 2-week period. Patients continued to receive the same treatment administered during the last 2-week period of the crossover phase for an additional 6 weeks in the parallel phase. Assessment of 1-second forced expiratory volume (FEV1) curves before and after dosing on the last day of each 2-week period indicated that the combination was superior to either single agent in peak effect and area under the curve up to 8 h after dosing (FEV1-AUC0-8), in both phases of the trial. The use of Dey combination during the crossover phase resulted in 24% more improvement in peak FEV1 than was seen with albuterol alone (p < 0.001), and 37% more than was seen with ipratropium alone (p < 0.001). Similarly, when examining FEV1-AUC0-8, Dey combination resulted in 30% more improvement than was seen with albuterol alone (p < 0.001), and 32% more than was seen with ipratropium alone (p < 0.001). The combination affords a convenient dosing regimen and incorporates enhanced benefit without compromising the safety profile of either component agent.